Harry Maguire represents an unlikely potential solution to Manchester United’s recent problems in defence. A club that had previously recruited some of Europe’s leading defenders – Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic formed one of the Premier League’s finest ever central defensive partnerships – instead targeted an individual who first established himself in League One.
It was at Sheffield United where Maguire first played regular first-team football, and it was former Manchester United captain Steve Bruce who was responsible for first taking him into the English top flight in 2014, when he spent £1.5m signing the then 21-year-old from Hull. Relegation back to the Championship was followed by an immediate promotion and further relegation – but in that time Maguire sufficiently impressed Leicester, who paid £17m to make him the focal point of their defence.
Maguire’s subsequent rise might have surprised some, but it has been built on an ability to step up to every challenge he has faced; he adapted to Hull, then to Leicester, and then most significantly for England as they reached the semi finals of the 2018 World Cup.
That United coach Mike Phelan worked with Maguire at Hull will have contributed to his move to Old Trafford. But, even if the 26-year-old will be under pressure to justify surpassing Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk as the world’s most expensive defender, he has already made a promising start.